Curing is an ancient method used to preserve, tenderize, flavor, and store fresh meat. It was useful before refrigeration and has become a fun family tradition for many people across the world.
The most important thing to remember when curing meat is to use the proper type of curing salt for your recipe. There are two types of curing salts, Prague Powder #1 and Prague Powder #2, and the difference between the two is that Prague Powder #1 is used for short-term curing while Prague Powder #2 is more suitable for long-term curing projects such as salami, smoked ham, country ham, prosciutto, pepperoni, and dry sausage.
Prague Powder #1 is made up of 6% sodium nitrite and 94% table salt and can be found in most grocery stores. It serves to inhibit the growth of bacteria and help keep meat flavors and appearances consistent.
It is recommended that you use 1 ounce of Prague Powder #1 for every 25 pounds of meat, though more may cause the meat to become overly salty and unpalatable.
You can purchase a pound of Prague Powder #1 and a quart of water at your local grocery store or butcher. For the best results, make sure to use a scale to measure your curing salt mixture accurately.